COURTESY WOMEN IN NEED
The Lopez and Bustamante families, shown here with Prudential Locations employees, were among the beneficiaries yesterday of 107 backpacks given to students staying at the Ohana Ola O Kahumana transitional shelter in Waianae.
Needy students load up on donated supplies
Gina Tautua's three children were among 107 who received backpacks brimming with school supplies yesterday at the Ohana Ola O Kahumana transitional shelter in Waianae.
"Oh my gosh, it helps us out a great deal. It helps us out a lot being that we are low income," said Tautua, who has fibromyalgia, a muscular disease, and is not working.
In 2007 she was hospitalized in critical condition at the Queen's Medical Center after her husband, David Tautua, allegedly stabbed her in the neck. She has been living in the transitional housing for about five months. The case against her husband is still pending.
Her 12-year-old son, Jesse Revollar, is anxious to go back to Waianae Intermediate School next week. Jesse said receiving pencils, folders and other school supplies takes the pressure off of his mother to buy the those items.
Locations Foundation distributed about 650 backpacks to needy students all across the state yesterday, three days before public schools open, for its Backpack for Schools program. The blue and red backpacks were filled with pens, crayons, pencils, folders, binders and other items.
Monique Temblor-Lee, assistant executive director of Women in Need, knows firsthand the importance of contributions from the community. She lived with one of her five children at Ohana Ola for about three months after leaving a domestic-violence shelter.
"I am fortunate now," said Temblor-Lee. "(Moving to the shelter) meant not having to return to a domestic-violent household and not having to resort to living on the beach."
For several years the nonprofit Women in Need has been offering life skills and other training classes to women at Ohana Ola Kahumana.
Although Women in Need is able to provide residents with the tools to become independent, other contributions are always appreciated.
Some children had to use plastic grocery bags to carry their school supplies in the past, said Locations Foundation President Corinda Wong.
Last year the foundation donated about 300 backpacks statewide. With the community's support, the Backpack for Schools program has grown dramatically.
"Seven years ago we started doing this ... because we found that a lot of students didn't have supplies for the first day of school," said Wong. "It just keeps building."
Founded 20 years ago by Prudential Locations, the foundation receives contributions for its Backpack for Schools program from various donors.
"Our agents and staff, many of them donate 1 percent of their income to our foundation," said Wong.
Prudential Locations employees also sent e-mails to their clients all over the world to solicit donations.
Two California children emptied their piggy banks for the cause.
Every year, the foundation contributes about $100,000 to the community. It also gave about $4,000 to Women in Need for additional supplies for students.